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Rumor: iPhone tethering to cost $55 per month

And that's an extra $55 per month, smack dab on top of the small fortune you're already paying. If it turns out to be true, AT&T should prepare for the blogosphere beatdown of the century.

iPhone tethering is awesome, but will you really have to pay $55 per month for the privilege?

iPhone tethering is coming soon (or now if you're up for a quick and easy hack), meaning you'll be able to use your handset as a wireless modem for your PC. But at what price?

Rumors have been flying that AT&T will charge as much as $70 per month for tethering privileges, but now mobile-apps blog Appmodo is citing "a source with AT&T" that the cost will be $55.

Note to AT&T: Over my dead body.

Most of the people on this planet think you're already charging too much ($70/month minimum) for voice and data. Now you want $55 more for tethering, which is really just an extension of the data plan we're already paying for?

If that rumor pans out, you'd better have a thick skin, because the blogosphere will tear you a new one. And I will be leading the charge, as that kind of unmitigated greed makes my blood boil.

Now, if that $55 figure is for data and tethering, meaning you're adding only $25 to the monthly bill, we can discuss it reasonably. That's still way too much, but at least it doesn't bury the needle on the Ridiculous Meter.

Over to you, readers: what's a fair price for tethering? Interestingly, I just today used my hacked-for-tethering iPhone in a coffee shop where the Wi-Fi wasn't working, and it totally saved the day.

So there's value here, and consequently I'd pay an extra $5 for it--maybe even $10. (Actually, a pay-as-you-go option would be dynamite.) But $55? Come on, AT&T. Seriously?

Update: AT&T's Facebook page says the $55/month-tethering rumor is just plain false. So what will the price be? "We'll have more news to share when the iPhone tethering option is closer to launch." Whenever that is. I'm glad to see a seemingly official response, but enough with all the cloak-and-dagger, already!